a Return to the Hapu Hearing Clinic Albania July 2007

Jay and Diana (with Tana in tow) plan to depart for a 4 week mission trip to Albania beginning July 9 and returning August 6. Expenses for airfare, the month long stay, and clinic support are estimated at $6000. Anything more than needed for trip expenses goes toward clinic supplies and future clinic needs.

Jay and Diana humbly ask for your help in making this opportunity a blessed reality to God’s Glory.

The Hapu Project hearing clinic beginnings
After the fall of communism in 1991, Evangelical teams with Operation Mobilization planted the Disciples Church in Durrës Albania. Diana attended there for nearly a year and became a Christian in 1992, one of the first Christians in a country where atheism was the rule for 45 years. In August 1993, Diana prayed an entire night asking God to show her how He would use her in ministry. Seven months later, Lois Mullaliu a speech and language therapist with O.M. brought God’s answer.

The Hapu Project hearing clinic started in post-communist Albania. The State services were broken and the private sector didn’t have money to provide services either. Richard Livermore of the Hard of Hearing Christian Fellowship in England came for a mission trip in 1993 and saw the need for a hearing clinic and started collecting hearing aids to donate.

Lois, a speech language pathologist, knew Richard because of HHCF donations to O.M. but she didn’t know who could be trained to use the equipment. After prayer to find someone interested in ministering to the hard of hearing, God put Diana on Lois’ mind and heart. Lois had met Diana but didn’t know anything about her gifts and skills. When Lois asked if Diana would be interested, Diana knew it was God’s answer to her desire for a ministry.

At first, Diana and Lois had to contend with the English–Albanian language barrier. All the audiology testing methods and manuals were in English, which Diana didn’t know. Lois translated the materials into Albanian so Diana could start working the clinic and did so for two years in her apartment, the only place in the country where testing and hearing aids were available. Wendy Shaw, an audiologist, was instrumental in training and mentoring for the weeks in the beginning of the clinic and many return visits in the years since. The St. Andrew’s Church in Malvern were benefactors of the clinic’s new audiometer, the most critical tool for measuring hearing loss.

Since opening in 1994, the Hapu Clinic outreach of the Disciples Church has served over 5000 Albanians through hearing testing, aid fitting, hearing loss counseling all done in Christ’s name. “Opening Ears to the Word of God” is the main focus of clinic work whether through sharing Bible stories to the children or showing Christ’s love and understanding to parents and adults. “Hapu” means “open” and refers to Mark 7:34 where Jesus healed the deaf and mute man.

In 2000, the Hapu Clinic was used to serve people in the town of Deçan, Kosova after the war. The town was bombed very badly and many people suffered severe permanent hearing loss. The clinic showed Christ’s love in helping those in need through fitting hearing aids.

Diana and Jay meet amidst odds only God could beat
In 2003, the clinic started to get a room in the new Disciples Church building, moving out of Diana’s apartment. Richard started work in soundproofing and the clinic worked out of both locations while construction continued. In November, Diana traveled to the USA to visit her parents and sister Teuta’s family.

Through some providential Internet technology, Jay and Diana met and developed a friendship. At Diana’s return to Albania in the end of February 2004, Jay set about plans to make a visit to Albania. With the support of Surprise Vineyard Church, family and friends, Jay made his first overseas and mission trip for 6 weeks in May 2004. Using his handyman skills, he helped finish the soundproofing of the Hapu hearing clinic in its new church location and also add another light to help the single existing bulb. A couple of weeks into his stay, Jay proposed marriage to Diana during one of their sightseeing trips.

In March 2005, they married 3 times: a traditional Albanian ceremony and a Christian wedding both in Albania, and the third time in the USA by Yavapai county judge when Diana finally got her visa in April.

Diana took the Arizona license test for pharmacy technician and started working at the Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood. Jay continued to work as the Hearing Aid Specialist and Office Manager for Paradise Hearing’s Cottonwood location. In August 2006, they moved out of their ‘newlywed’ apartment into their current home in Cottonwood. Baby daughter Tana arrived in September and Diana now stays at home full-time.

But what of the Hapu Clinic?
Before leaving Albania, Diana had trained two other women to run the clinic in her absence. Rudina Gogaj, wife to the pastor of the Disciples Church, has served as the current director and Manjola Vishkulli. Rudi and Manjola not only serve in the Durres based clinic, but they also seek other locations for clinic outreach.

This would be a very good chance to have all of the ‘major players’ of the Hapu Clinic together to not only fulfill God’s ministry , but to also fellowship and plan the future of the clinic. Rudi and Manjola need extra training now that they have spent 2 years experience running the clinic. Jay is also evaluating establishing a full-fledged clinic ‘business’ as a summer endeavor. To supplement the donations and supplies provided by other supporters of the ministry, Jay can also bring significant supplies at wholesale cost for the clinic given his current industry contacts.

Jay and Diana (with Tana in tow) plan to depart for a 4 week stay beginning July 9 and returning August 6. J Expenses for airfare, the month long stay, and clinic support are estimated at $6000. Anything more than needed for trip expenses goes toward clinic supplies and future clinic needs.

Jay and Diana humbly ask for your help in making this opportunity a blessed reality to God’s Glory.

Jay and Diana Griffin
Hapu Ministry 2007
jay.griffin@gmail.com
http://griffinsmithy.com

Opening Albanian Ears to the Word of God
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